Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the Forest Service's determination that an 85-fold increase in predicted drilling in the Ozark–St. Francis National Forests did not require a "correction, supplement, or revision" to the original environmental analysis. The Eighth Circuit dismissed the suit based on lack of jurisdiction, holding that plaintiffs failed to identify any particular member who stands to be harmed by the government action it challenges, and that plaintiffs lack a concrete interest in this dispute. View "Ozark Society v. United States Forest Service" on Justia Law

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The Authority is in development of a diversion project on the Red River with the Corps. In this appeal, the Authority alleged that the district court made numerous errors in granting a preliminary injunction to JPA, prohibiting the Authority's continued construction of a ring levee in communities in North Dakota (OHB ring levee). The court concluded that the district court’s finding of fact that the OHB project is a part of the larger diversion project is not clearly erroneous and broadly supports the district court’s decision to grant the injunction; the district court found adequate procedural harm and harm to the JPA’s specific environmental interests sufficient to support a preliminary injunction; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the balance of harms favored an injunction. The court also concluded that the district court did not err in finding that the dormant Commerce Clause does not preclude JPA’s Minnesota Environmental Procedure Act (MEPA), Minn. R. 4410.3100, claim. Finally, the court concluded that it was permissible for the district court to waive the bond requirement based on its evaluation of public interest in this specific case. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Richland/Wilkin Joint Powers v. Fargo-Moorhead Flood Diversion" on Justia Law

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After Big River, a Nucor competitor, received a permit from ADEQ to construct a new steel recycling and manufacturing facility in Osceola, Arkansas, Nucor filed a citizen suit under the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7475, seeking injunctive relief to stop Big River from constructing or continuing to construct the steel mill. The district court dismissed the suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court concluded that, even though Nucor’s allegations that Big River violated the Arkansas State Implementation Plan (SIP) present a challenge to an “emission standard or limitation” as that term is defined in 42 U.S.C. 7604(f)(4), Nucor has not alleged the repeated or ongoing violations necessary to support a citizen suit under section 7604(a)(1). Accordingly, the district court did not err by concluding that it lacked jurisdiction under section 7604(a)(1). The court also concluded that the district court did not err by finding it lacked jurisdiction under section 7604(a)(3) to entertain Nucor’s allegations that Big River did not meet the requirements to obtain the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit needed to begin construction; the district court did not err by finding that the CAA does not authorize a preconstruction citizen suit against a party that already has obtained a permit; and the district court did not err in barring Nucor’s Title I claims based on the availability of Title V review. Therefore, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Nucor Steel - AR v. Big River Steel" on Justia Law

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The State of Nebraska petitioned for review after the EPA rejected Nebraska’s best available retrofit technology (BART) determination for Gerald Gentleman Station, substituting a Federal Implementation Plan. Conservation organizations oppose Nebraska's petition and seek review of the EPA's plan. Nebraska Public Power intervened on behalf of the EPA. Given Nebraska’s errors and EPA’s determination that Nebraska’s action was unreasoned, the court denied the petition for review. In this case, the EPA did not exceed its statutory authority in disapproving the BART determination by determining that Nebraska's BART determination for the Station was based on flawed analysis and an unreasonable conclusion. The court also concluded that the EPA properly relied on the Transport Rule for the Station and the EPA did not abuse its discretion in rejecting a geographic enhancement. The court denied the petitions for review. View "State of Nebraska v. EPA" on Justia Law

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Petitioners seek review of the EPA's approval of the Minnesota Regional Haze State Implementation Plan. Specifically, petitioners challenged the EPA's approval of Minnesota's decision to use the Transport Rule in place of source-specific Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART), and Minnesota’s reasonable-progress goals. The court concluded that the EPA’s approval of Minnesota’s reliance on the Transport Rule was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. In this case, the EPA did not rely on factors that Congress did not intend it to consider, did not entirely fail to consider an important aspect of the problem, and did not offer an explanation that runs counter to the evidence before the agency. The court also concluded that the EPA acted rationally within its sphere of expertise when it approved the reasonable-progress goals in the Plan, explaining that Minnesota adequately demonstrated that its progress goals are reasonable. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "National Parks Conservation v. EPA" on Justia Law

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The government filed suit against Dico to recover damages for cleanup costs after Dico sold buildings to SIM, which were then torn down and stored in an open field where PCBs were later found. The government alleged that Dico violated the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. 9607(a)(3), and the EPA order governing use of the buildings at issue. The district court found Dico liable for both violations. The court reversed and vacated the district court's summary judgment order holding Dico "arranged" for disposal of hazardous materials as a matter of law where the evidence does not demonstrate that Dico was merely trying to get rid of a hazardous substance. The fact that some parts from the buildings were worthless after disassembly does not necessarily transform a potentially legitimate sale of the buildings in which Dico would receive some commercial value into a ploy to simply get rid of the buildings just to dispose of the hazardous substance. The court vacated the district court's order with respect to any response costs associated with the issue of "arranger" liability. The court also reversed the award of punitive damages because the Fund did not incur any costs as a result of Dico's violation of the EPA Order. The court affirmed in all other respects. View "United States v. Dico, Inc." on Justia Law